2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 18 Jul 2003 16:43:25 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Why Defense Must Change
Why Defense Must Change
July 18, 2003; Page A19

Congress will soon decide whether the Department of Defense is to join
the rest of the world -- and many newly revamped parts of the federal
government, such as the Department of Homeland Security -- in entering
the 21st century.

The issue is the Defense Transformation Act, legislation designed to
allow the department to, among other things, manage its personnel.

Today it takes, on average, five months to hire a federal employee, 18
months to fire one and collective bargaining with more than 1,300
separate union locals to implement critical reforms. These negotiations
can take years to accomplish.

While the nation is asking tens of thousands of reserve troops to leave
their jobs and their families to help fight the global war on terrorism,
it is estimated that on-duty military personnel are serving in more than
300,000 jobs -- at additional cost to the taxpayers -- that could be
filled by civilian workers but are not because the department doesn't
have the authority to manage its civilian personnel. During Operation
Iraqi Freedom, more than 80 percent of civilians deployed in the theater
of operations were contractors. Why? Because a complex web of
regulations prevents the Department of Defense from moving civilians to
new tasks quickly. As a result, managers turn to uniformed personnel and
to contractors to do what department civilians could and should be
doing. A similar problem exists with respect to the hiring of new
employees. While industry can offer promising applicants a job and a
bonus on the spot, all the Defense Department can offer is a ream of
paperwork and a promise to get back to them in three to five months.

In an era when our enemies are moving at the speed of satellites, cell
phones and cyberspace, these burdensome regulations are not acceptable.
The Department of Defense cannot meet the challenges of the future with
an organization anchored to the past. We must be permitted to be as
agile, flexible and adaptable as the forces we field in battle around
the world.

... ... ...

U.S. military forces are further hamstrung by outdated environmental
regulations that are impeding our ability to train and better prepare
the men and women in uniform for battlefield conditions.

This opinion piece can be viewed at:

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